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#1 cgpcowpoke22

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 01:37 PM

Hey all I just want to say thanks in advance for all the help! I am trying to plan a trip to Cozumel for me and my wife and a few friends maybe.
I was talking with my travel agent and she gave me prices for a few places and I am so confused reading some reviews. We stayed at the fiesta americana last year and it was just ok. Our room was ok and the staff was nice the food was lacking but we still had a good time but we are looking to go somewhere new this year. The places we started to look at were the Sabor, El Coz, Melia, and the allegro. I liked the sound of the sabor being adult only but was a little confused on the property sounded like you have to be in the most expensive room to enjoy all of the property and also sounds like the have changed ownership. Any help and advice would be awesome! Thanks again!
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#2 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 02:19 PM

The food at Melia and El Coz is not good. You'd be sorry. I can't comment on the other two. Maybe Park Royal? Can your budget do Cozumel Palace? Everything there is top notch. Across from there is the more affordable Hotel Cozumel. Breakfast and beach snacks fine there and then I'd walk into town for dinner each night.
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#3 DJDiverDan

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 05:36 PM

I've stayed at Fiesta Americana before, & I agree that it's not really great. Rooms were just so so, AC was spotty, and it was WAY too far out for my taste. Just my own thoughts, but I avoid all AI resorts on Cozumel, and it's not just that I hate All Inclusives -- they have their place. On Jamaica (if I ever go back there again) or Moorea (if I CAN go back there, I loved it), I would do All Inclusives. But Coz has too many good restaurants to restrict yourself to an AI Buffet night after night, and the charm and friendliness of the people is a big part of why I love Cozumel, and you'll miss that experience at an AI Resort. I do understand that AIs are very convenient for the Family - the kids are taken care of. But if it is just a group of Adults, don't do the AI. On non-AI hotels, my experience is fairly limited - Casa Del Mar, La Cieba (a LONG time ago), and Casa Mexicana Cozumel are the only "decent" hotels I have any experience with. I spent years going to my timeshare at Plaza Las Glorias, until the Palace Cozumel folks bought it out, raped the time share owners (with help from the Mexican Judiciary) and went AI. I'll never set foot in or spend a dime at Palace Cozumel, but that's my own deep seated anger. Casa Mexicana Cozumel is very nice - rooms are big & comfortable, location is very central. The one downside is the pool (or lack of one) -- what they call a "pool" is little larger than a big hot tub, and not as deep. Of those three, my preference is Casa Del Mar, though it is away from Downtown, meaning more cab rides. I do not know about the accomodations, but you may want to look at Hotel Cozumel - HUGE Pool, centrally located, and you can go either AI or European Plan.
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#4 detroit...(texas)

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:13 PM

two stays at el coz were both ok......but that was 7 or 8 years ago. food was fair...found something we liked each meal and spent time in town the 2nd trip. we have visited the iberostar every year since. the only thing negative i have from there is its distance from town. ( but if your considering the allegro its the next in distance.) food has been good every trip. super clean, same people working there since we started going speaks well of it. no thanks for adding to your confusion :)
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#5 cookielady

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:06 PM

We have stayed at numerous hotels on the island but Hotel Coz has been our choice for the last ten years or so. They are not a 5 star but a very affordable 3/4 star. We have always felt the bang was the best for the buck there. Great staff, Pool and beach area are great, rooms are kept clean and the food has always been good. IMHO for the price of the AI you can still be money ahead by just eating one or two meals and having a couple of drinks (alcohol or soda) and still enjoy dinners out to get the true Cozumel experience. It's nice to stay in some nights as well. My 11 year old absolutely loves this hotel. :)
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#6 MarkC

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:25 AM

I just spent 10 days at the The Allegro resort... I have never done A/I in Cozumel, and have stayed at Casa del Mar every other time.

I chose this resort for several reasons:

1. I wanted to be away from it all – quiet and calm – little to no action and sounds of a city

2. I wanted a nice beach

The Allegro delivered on both of these very nicely.

My experience was overall good and depending on the price, I would go back to the Allegro.

Note: the difference between the Allegro and Casa Del Mar at the time I booked my trip was ~$67 if I recall correctly. For $67, it was an obvious choice to go A/I – all food/drink provided and a gorgeous beach to run around on. We had a car, and decided to eat a few dinners in town for a few nights – *excellent* meals at Rolandi’s, Pepe’s Bar and Grill, Ernesto’s Fajita Factory and Palmeras. The surprise of the trip was the margaritas and food at Coconuts - BEST meal hands down I had there - especially for the money (note: it’s on the east side of the island).

Since I booked my trip for after school started, there were very few children on the resort (yes, it was intentional lol). Since school was in, very few people were travelling and the entire island was essentially dead, which I think contributed highly to having better service at the resort.

Since the resort was so dead, they buffet was shut down and everything was a la carte – which made for much fresher meals – another nice perk to going in the slow season. Food was decent, the only thing I did not order a 2nd time was the fajitas – the meat quality was not so good. Drinks were a mixed bag – some bartenders made them stronger than others. I loved the drink menu, so many good ones to choose from – both frozen and on the rocks. Drink cups were an acceptable size, so we never used the ones we took with us. One note: the alcohol was not top shelf liquor, so you might want to take some Excedrin to deal with the cheap liquor headaches you might suffer from after you tie one on.

The rooms were a bit on the small side, but not bad. We ran out of hot water and water pressure one evening in mid shower and had to rinse off via cups of luke warm water out of the shower faucet. Several times after that throughout the week, hot water came out brown/yellow, then cleared up (no big deal, this is Mexico, right?)... The beds were hard hard hard - by the time I woke up on day 4, I had to request a pad on the bed, which made it completely comfortable. The pillows for the bed pretty much sucked, but we made due. Last thing, we did have an incident in the bathroom where the light fixture fell and came down on me... They came right out and repaired it the next morning.

Activities... Well, they had them, we just did not participate (we were diving the 1st four mornings). They had a clown doing twisty balloons one afternoon, which I thought was funny and strange at the same time, but kids would have loved it. They had Spanish lessons by the pool most mornings. They had “the crazy game” a few times, but I was never around to see it. There was one day they tried to get a soccer game going, but did not have any participants (one of the guys had soccer shoes on, I wanted no part of playing against a pro hehehe). I might mention that the hot tub by the main pool was not kept hot (but the members only hot tub was hot – go figure...) We did jump into the members only hot tub a few times and noone said a word to us. The music by the pool varied and the sound system was a bit lacking, and the poolside restaurant and the beach towel place were both playing music so they were stepping over each other. If you take a music CD or two, they might put your music in (they did for one couple and we really appreciated that!)... There are kayaks and a small catamaran sailboat, we did not use them.

We saw two shows. On Friday nights they have a buffet dinner line by the pool with coco loco’s (they cut their own coconuts off the trees there), followed by the fire show (the food and show were really good). Another night, we caught the “Mexican” show, where they perform dances from different parts of Mexico and sport different styles of dress as well. I found it a bit boring so we bailed between dances and headed back to the bar lol.

One thing you might enjoy is getting 4-5 drinks, an extra plastic chair and head up to the top of the lifeguard stand on the beach to get a birds eye view of a sunset or two – great picture opportunity.

Last bit of advice for the Allegro, and I can not stress this enough TAKE BUG SPRAY. I will note that even near Casa Del Mar, mosquitos were horrible at night. Not sure about the validity of this statement, but I thought I read there was a Dengue issue on the island right now, so you definitely want to avoid being bit.

Diving... I know this is not Allegro related, but I once again used Dive With Martin and had a most wonderful experience. Being at the Allegro means NO ‘BEAT DOWN’ BOAT RIDES to the dive sites – I really LOVED that. We did four days of diving, for $470 for both of us – we were picked up at the Allegro pier every morning on time at 7:45 and they were great about communicating any changes. We got a complimentary video on day 4. The operator on the Allegro site was Pro Dive (who never responded to my emails prior to the trip), and I have no clue about their prices. They did a try scuba class in the pool daily.

That’s all for now, I can’t wait to get back to CZ, I will definitely consider staying there again.

Mark
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#7 Crenitynow

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 12:58 PM

Its been years since I have been on the island but I did stay at the Reef Club (now Sabor) when it first opened and loved it. I stopped going to Cozumel after hurricane Emily and purchased a condo in Playa Del Carmen to vacation at. In fact my girlfriend and I are going to stay at Sabor this December. At the time The Reef Club was the southern most hotel on the island and I choose it because it was spankin brand new and far away from the city and cruisers.

Now, everyone has their own requirements for what makes an ideal vacation location. My requirements are an All Inclusive, with a nice beach, clean room and no young children. Thats it. Sabor fits the bill. Food will always be sacrificed when you choose an AI, but as long as you don't go into it expecting a gourmet dinner every night, you will be just fine. The beach was great for Cozumel standards and the rooms were ok too.

Just go into it with an open mind and hope for great weather...the rest will fall into place.
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#8 Coz2wonder

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:24 PM

AI...NO, not when there are so many GREAT places to eat.

When my family visits, I put them up at the Coral Princess.

Also, the new Hotel "B" which is just two doors down from the CP may also be an option.

It's not always about price...
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#9 MarkC

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 01:54 PM

Again, not to start an argument, but the difference between A/I and non A/I was $67 (Casa del Mar vs Allegro)... I guarantee you I got $67 worth of breakfasts, lunches and drinks. Plus I did not feel guilty eating out 4-5x.
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#10 Crenitynow

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:12 PM

I agree with Marc and have done it both ways on Cozumel. Ive stayed at 4 different AI's on Cozumel and more times than I care to remember at Alicias Bed & Breakfast. Frankly, my experiences with Cozumel restaurants have been a small step above what I ate at the AI's. What made them enjoyable was the company and atmosphere.

Back in the day all I wanted to do was dive, catch some sun and have a couple beers at the end of the day...B&B's were perfect fit for my lifestyle. Now, I like to just keep it simple and that's exactly what an AI affords me. I don't not have to think about where to eat, what to eat and if it will be a decent meal at a decent price. Not to mention am I ok to drive?

What sucks is when someone tries to make you feel like you are an idiot or missing the "True" Mexico experience if you stay at an AI. It does not matter what option you choose as long as you are happy with your decision. Why do you think there are new AI's being built every year in Mexico and the local restaurants are closing their doors? Just saying...
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#11 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:49 PM

That's a good point. But you have already done the "been there, done that" thing on the island. Possibly some people don't know what they are missing by staying at an AI and never going anywhere else. IMO everybody should venture off their resort for a day.
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#12 Crenitynow

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:59 PM

I agree...we always go into town one day a week...on Sunday for church and then buy gifts for friends.
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#13 cgpcowpoke22

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:38 AM

Thanks for all the post all are very appreciated! We have narrowed it down I believe between the Sabor and staying in the Sabor Islander room the only reason for bumping up in room status was because this class of rooms include access to the Exclusive Club not sure if that's really worth it but is sounded like it gave us access to another restaurant pool and bar. Any info or help on that one would be nice. The other is the Occidental Grand It looked like it was a nice place and got some of the better reviews. The reason we are doing AI is because I have been to the island and enjoy all of it and we will be going to lots of the good places in town but the people we are going with really want to stay at an AI for the convenience.

Thanks again for all the help and look forward to reading more!!!

Also both are about the same price
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#14 cvchief

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:43 AM

Again, not to start an argument, but the difference between A/I and non A/I was $67 (Casa del Mar vs Allegro)... I guarantee you I got $67 worth of breakfasts, lunches and drinks. Plus I did not feel guilty eating out 4-5x.


Mark you make the great point that cuts both ways. We did both Iberostar and the Grand a few times. My take on food was Ibero was a little better but both were good. However it paled to places in town. The whole eating in town vs. the 'free meal' at the AI can go both ways with people. We went with friend one time and they were the type that really liked the resort. We went out and visited stuff, by they could stay on site the whole time and be happy. Another trip I took my mother along and she was all about getting back in time to get the meal we 'paid' for. She wasn't into leaving and missing the paid meal. (We left her there and went to Kinta anyway....)

We always get a car for the whole time we are there, but even so I really enjoy being in town and walking to things. Also if I spend all morning in the ocean, the beach isn't important.

I guess what I am saying is, AI vs not AI is a very much personal choice. We did it, enjoyed it and are done with the AI thing now. Our friends love that style of vacation.
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#15 Charles

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:49 AM

Why do you think there are new AI's being built every year in Mexico and the local restaurants are closing their doors? Just saying...


Because there are billions and BILLION$$$ of cash dollars from the drug trade that need to be invested? Hotel occupancy is holding at around 50% on the mainland, while the members of the hotel association in Cozumel can boast a meager 19%. Competition is difficult when one side can afford to sell below cost and still come out ahead.
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#16 MarkC

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 01:23 PM

One of the benefits of doing the A/I thing is there are times where you just don’t feel like getting dressed up / fixed up and running into town for a meal. When I went to Punta Cana earlier this year, I was so aggravated with the a la carte restaurants costing me 2.5 to 3 hours each night just to eat that going to the [instant gratification] buffet was nice – in and out in under 45 minutes and I could wander in in shorts and flip flops. Plus having breakfast and lunch easily accessible immediately before/after scuba diving is great.

To Cowpoke: Given the choice between the Iberostar and the Sabor, I would pick the Iberostar – no question. Also, most of the Trip Advisor reviews that I read when I was researching said the Exclusive Club @ The Sabor was not worth the additional expense.

Have a great time in CZ, eat a few dinners in town and go visit the wild side and Coconuts!
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“Corona con lima, Corona with lime... Todo el tiempo, hey all of the time... Con mucho gusto, I’m havin such a good time... Corona con lima, Corona with lime...”

#17 Guest_pecosgirl_*

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 03:39 PM

We don't "dress up" to go eat in town. Nobody cares if you have on shorts and flip flops. We have enjoyed staying AI a couple of times because breakfast and beach snacks are good and easy and fast and some days we imbibe alot. But we haven't done AI for years. It seems to me that more and more folks are renting condos. It is indeed a personal preference. I just hope the AI people get out and about for at least one day of their holiday and spend some money at actual local businesses.
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#18 cvchief

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 06:36 PM

Hey I always dress for dinner in town. Shirt with a collar and everything. I even bought a nice snap brim hat someone on here picked out for me, so I am now a fashion plate. I am going for the the sugar plantation owner look. I even have two colors of sandals to accessorize. You think more and more people are renting condos? I have heard there are some nice ones.... Las Ventanas B404
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#19 Crenitynow

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 08:32 PM

Where do you get your information from? With a couple key strokes I pulled up this:

30 August 2011. Comments (0) ... These kinds of statistics continue to justify Mexico as a safe travel destination by and large, but are ignored by the mainstream media. .... Hotel occupancy is 71%… the Cancun Hotel Association reports. ...

I doubt the Drug Lords are willing to give up BILLIONS of dollars just to loose it on a crappy investment. Why would they when money can be secured off shore or overseas.
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#20 Carey

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 06:18 AM

I doubt the Drug Lords are willing to give up BILLIONS of dollars just to loose it on a crappy investment. Why would they when money can be secured off shore or overseas.


I'm sure you're familiar with the term 'money-laundering'? A fictional illustration of it in action is the hit tv show Breaking Bad where the prof turned high qual crystal meth cook's wife has just purchased a car wash to launder the unbelievable amount of cash that is pouring in every week.

As to investing overseas? Mexico is looking very good indeed right now, economically speaking, compared to the rest of the world. Mexico's economy, unlike Europe and the US is not tanking.
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